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Apple finally expands its bug bounty program to accept MacOS bugs

Apple’s 3-year-old bug bounty program has finally, officially expanded to accept bug submissions from other Apple ecosystem platforms, including MacOS. The technology company announced its plans for the expansion just a few months ago, during the Black Hat cybersecurity conference. Apple appears to have launched the expansion of its Security Bounty program on Thursday, December 19, via a new webpage published on its site that provides further details on the updated program.

The Apple Security Bounty program is essentially a program in which Apple incentivizes security researchers to find bugs in Apple’s various operating systems and report them to the company in exchange for a pretty sizable monetary reward. As ZDNet notes, when the program was first launched in 2016, it only accepted bug reports for iOS bugs from certain researchers who had been invited to participate in the program. But as of this week, the Security Bounty program has officially expanded to not only accept MacOS bugs, but also bugs from other Apple operating systems, and it now allows the participation of all security researchers.

The newly published webpage on Apple’s website provides details on the current iteration of the Security Bounty program, including eligibility guidelines, bounty categories (and their associated maximum rewards), and instructions on how to submit a bug report. There’s even a separate page that lists example payouts for different kinds of bugs.

In addition to MacOS bugs, the program officially accepts bug reports for iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and WatchOS. There doesn’t appear to be any MacOS specific-guidelines for submitting bug reports about it, but generally speaking, in order to be eligible for a bounty, researchers must follow three main guidelines:

  1. You have to be the first one to report the bug to Apple Product Security.
  2. A report must be submitted and it should be “clear” and contain “a working exploit.”
  3. You can’t publicize the bug until “Apple releases the security advisory for the report.”

It’s also worth noting that if the bug has “significant impact to users,” Apple will still take it into consideration for a bounty payment even if it doesn’t “fit the published bounty categories.” Also, the bounties themselves aren’t tiny. In fact, the smallest example payout listed was $25,000 and the largest payout appears to be $1 million.

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